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I am still having major trouble with hardware and software issues, none of which are even worth talking about, about let alone blogging. But they are making everthing difficult, especially blogging. So I have to deal with them first.

I will rejoin you as soon as possible. In the meantime please feel free to post anything that might be interesting, on this thread or elsewhere.

Back to the fold

*

I wanna talk today about a sad phenomenon, that happened in France just a few hours ago. It is very much about freedom of speech, even though no one will actually say it, because most believe in The Truth. A few days ago, a famous (in France) French stand-up comic, Jean-Marie Bigard mentioned Loose Change on a radio show, saying it was now absolutely certain that the two planes never crashed in the buildings, that they were actually still flying, and of course, that Bin Laden has been dead for a pretty long time.

The radio excerpt in French. You won't understand anything.

The last part, we can all get behind, ever since the CIA started authenticating audio tapes and Bhutto said on video Bin Laden was murdered. Unfortunately, that did not matter much to the rest of the journalist elite. Who got up in arms, talking about how Bigard had “gone nuts”, or went antisemitic, or how he was always a poor comic anyway, etc. Everyone who wanted to defend the official version seemed only able to demonize Bigard. I must say I don’t find him especially great, to the contrary. I think he’s a right-wing moron. But he’s an honest moron. He won’t try to fuck with you, I like that.

The troubling thing about Bigard’s intervention was, in my view, his certainty. He did not express the possibility of a disagreement. He was more like: “Hey, have you heard? It’s like that! It’s certain!” Does Loose Change induce such an attitude in people ? I haven't seen it yet. I thought this was more about opening a door to doubting and investigating, by showing pictures and stuff. Nevertheless, this is not a problem worthy of anything close to outrage, much less career-destroying, and this was indeed not the actual problem the journalists had with the person they now call the "looney".

Because another similar case occurred before, with the French actress Marion Cotillard. In some interview a few years ago, on Paris Première, she expressed doubts about the official version of 9/11. She said she had a tendancy to believe in the plot theory. That she thought people were lied to on a great many things. She mentioned stuff that she saw on the internet, and also talked about the incoherent collapse of WTC7 in a few minutes. She also expressed doubts on whether we really walked on the moon. “I’m wondering, and I don’t believe everything I’m told, that’s for sure.”

Here’s the video of the conversation, still in French, still won't understand.

This was ‘followed’ (the video was brought up right during the Oscars, a timing very similar to the Wright controversy, that is: years later) by the very same campaign of insults, derision, and humiliation. It doesn’t matter then, how you express your thoughts, whether you simply say you don’t believe what you’re told, or you assert your views and say that’s the reality. What matters is you crossed a red line, and you will suffer for it.

Both Bigard and Cotillard have released statements downplaying their position. Bigard asked for forgiveness and said he would “never again express any doubts.” It is hard to see if this is sarcasm, but I take it it’s not. In any case, he plays the entire world for fools, as he was all but certain. It was never about doubts. Cotillard, on the other hand, simply argued that she had been misunderstood. In both cases, people who simply did not believe and said so, had their lives and careers threatened, and then gave in and ‘apologized’. Once again, simply because they did not believe in something. That's the sad news. And this is supposed to be the free world. Someone break these guys' legs and pick their pockets quick, so they know what's actually intolerable.

Being as I am a subscriber of the internet-based investigation team, Arrêt sur Images, which analyses the media and is pretty good at it, I was able to see first-hand the kind of reactions you get from ‘official-theorists’, in the forums dedicated to those articles dealing with Bigard’s statement. Almost none of them will talk about facts. They will only resort to psychology: you’re crazy, you’re an antisemite, you’re an anti-american, you’re an elitist who’s using fantasy scenarios to feel superior, you’re always skeptical of everything and you can’t help it, etc…

All this behavior is nothing new to our own WP. Check this post from last year on Robert Fisk. And read the reactions, they’re gonna ring a bell:

« Robert Fisk Goes Nutter » “What a stark-raving lunatic! Madness! Madness! Madness!” “Moonbat At Large!“

Beyond the similarity, you can also feel the urge to demonize. He’s CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY! You could almost picture them screaming at their screens, punching on their keyboards, their face beet-red. I don’t know if Robert Fisk made any excuses later on. I hope he went Cheney on them, if you know what I mean.

And if you’re like me, then you know that this has also happened recently to… Jeremiah Wright ! That’s right! (Note: I’m French okay? These puns are fresh to me) And again, WP has all the goods you need, right there. There are of course plenty of other posts about Wright on his blog, but I’m sure you can find them on your own.

The reason why I’m bringing up Wright is that Arthur recently made a pretty good point relating to all those personal attacks that happen all the time and that always imply some guy defending a red line by attacking another guy’s personality/sanity. I wanna offer an extract from his essay titled, “Death Match: Follow the money – and follow the military bases”:

An example may help to clarify certain of the issues that concern me. It's a useful example, because it presents the problem in a fairly extreme form. In the fall of 2007, there was a huge to-do about Pete Stark's comment that Bush sent American troops to fight in Iraq to have their "heads blown off for the president's amusement." Here, I'm not interested in the public spectacle that ensued, which predictably forced Stark to apologize. That spectacle falls into the category of public pretense that I just recently discussed once again.

But consider the nature of Stark's remark. At some point in the future, I intend to discuss how everyone in American life now views him or herself as a professional psychologist, fully credentialed and able to diagnose every psychological malady at a distance of thousands of miles, without benefit of ever talking to the subject even once. We saw this kind of thing on full display in the reaction of many people to the Wright-Obama controversy. I offered some comments about a post by Digby that I found especially shocking on that subject, and most of her post is at the far edges of idiotic. But I haven't yet noted this remark of Digby's: "But Wright's latest round of media appearances have not seemed to me to be any kind of defense of liberalism or the black church or even Black Liberation Theology so much as one man's desire to deny a rival his destiny." Obama's "destiny"? Is it preordained, written in the stars as it were? Pity the person who thinks in such bathetic terms. Out with you -- and perhaps off to the reeducation camp -- if you dare to deny Obama his destiny! The Democratic apologists, who fear an original thought or a sustained attack on American exceptionalism more than they fear Jack the Ripper bearing down on them with a fully-loaded arsenal of the sharpest knives ever manufactured, did succeed in driving Wright underground and entirely out of the primary. O brave progressives!

But on what basis, pray tell, does Digby conclude that Wright viewed Obama as a rival (her italics)? To use one of certain liberals' own favorite put-downs: this is making shit up, because the shit in question happens to aid your argument of the moment. This kind of faux-psychology is irresponsible in the extreme, and it should be deeply insulting, not only to the person so "diagnosed" (read: attacked and dismissed), but to any adult capable of minimal thought. I suppose it may be possible that Wright viewed Obama as a rival, but neither Digby, nor you, nor I nor anyone else knows that in the absence of Wright's confession on the point, or before spending considerable time talking to the man. But note the further effect of this attack and dismissal that parades as a psychological diagnosis: it demeans the man, and it means that you do not have to engage the argument. And beneath the surface, dualism makes its appearance once again; the diagnosis means that Wright has bad motives and is a bad man, at least in part. It is therefore a good thing and a valid response to ignore the substance of what he had to say.

One person has wondered on those forums over at Arrêt sur Images, why is it that those who believe in the official theory are so aggressive? Why do they use so many insults? Why do they ask things like “Well, why don’t you deny the Shoah while you’re at it!?” But he too used psychological diagnosis on them (and I denounced it), so it seems that as Arthur explains, this is much more deeply rooted, and much more widespread than he thinks. In any case, you should read Arthur’s essay.

* Picture found here.

VOAT FOR ME ... er ... VOAT FOR US!!

Back in the days ... when I was a kid, some of the older kids -- teenagers hoping to avoid the draft, probably -- wore red, white and blue patches that simply said "VOAT".

I thought it was perfect in a multilayered way.

It appeals to the semi-illiterate segment of the electorate.
It gently mocks the electoral system.
And so on...

Those patches inspired the title of this post.

~~~

Some of our favorite blogs have been nominated in the Bloggers Choice Awards which are now open.

You can click here to register, after which you can ...

click here to vote for Chris Floyd's blog, Empire Burlesque

and/or click here to vote for Gandhi's blog, Bush Out

and/or click here to vote for Larisa Alexandrovna's blog, At Largely

and/or click here to vote for WP

and/or nominate your own favorites ...

and/or use the comment thread to tell us about your other favorite blogs...

More Screwed Now Than Ever Before

I can't shake the feeling that we're more screwed now than ever before, though it seems hardly anyone agrees with me.
You can read more here or comment below.
newjesustimes's picture

Tales from the nuclear black market

I came across this blog post after a friend mentioned the Tinners family to me.
An engineer is on trial in Germany for allegedly attempting to help Libya develop a nuclear bomb. But the network the man was allegedly part of was under surveillance by intelligency agencies, with the CIA getting involved early on.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,560131,00.html

I thought it was interesting reading, especially in the context of some of the stories WP has followed regarding domestic terrorists and the people behind them.

The Biggest Lie Of All

I happened to be walking through the living room while my wife was watching Laura Bush address the Republican National Convention, and I actually heard the First Lady say this:
George is using America's influence to lift up lives around the world. Millions of children are protected from malaria by mosquito nets the American people provide. In Afghanistan and Iraq, 50 million people are now living in freedom. And let's not forget President Bush has kept the American people safe.
Four simple clear sentences punctuated by lots of applause. Let's look more closely, shall we?
You can read more here or comment below.
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